Wednesday 12 March 2014

Dealing with empty nest syndrome

Well I thought my heart would break when my 14 year old left home to return to boarding school in the UK last August after having him at home for 3 years and again in January this year when my 19 year old left home to join the British Marines. My recovery from my eldest leaving home in 2010 was quick as we moved to South Africa within 3 months.

It's March now and I'll admit I'm enjoying being a SAH, it's meant I'm adapting to another identity change in my life as back in 2010 I had the kids at home, was a part time student with a full time career, then within 3 months I was a SAHM to 2 kids, with no studies, no career, no friends, you see I became an expat.

So when faced with my 'golden years' ahead of me, no responsibilities, my ability to choose to work, should we choose to move to Dubai next year, my ability to finish off some studies in preparation for the move, I just crumbled, I was lost, I cried, what about MY life? what was I to do? Changes all the time and I wasn't coping.

But the last few weeks I've been so busy, I've hardly noticed the kids aren't here and when I stopped and thought about it, I felt guilty for NOT missing them. But I now realise it's ok to feel this way.

I've been able to focus 100% on my volunteering and almost burnt out. I've been able to have numerous projects on the go without having to tidy stuff away before the kids get home from school. I do still get a bit lonely in the day and often call my son to help me with something then realise he's not here. I get to eat what I want, when I want, including ice cream for breakfast. I enjoy the fact there is still ice cream in the freezer, I watch what I want, when I want on the TV and meal times with hubby have become a pleasure, we cook what we want and often eat late at night, on the sofa in front of the TV. (the dining room table is full of photographs, I'm half attempting to sort.

I used to dream of 'ME time' and then always felt I'd wasted it, there was ironing or cleaning I could've done, now if I want to spend the day in my pjs feeling sorry for myself watching crap TV, I just embrace it.

Now I've experienced the kids leaving home I can tell you it's not actually that bad. Just like all changes in your life it takes a bit of time to adapt to, it's not something I looked forward to, but now I've finished with the crying I'm embracing my freedom and now found opportunities.

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